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Hawaii's gift to good music, Jack de Mello has died at the age of 102
Composer, arranger, producer and recording artist Jack de Mello, who created an expansive new synthesis of Hawaiian melodies and lush, contemporary orchestral music, died Saturday in Las Vegas. He was 102.
During his prolific career, de Mello recorded close to 160 albums of all types of music, including almost 500 Hawaiian songs. He recorded at top studios around the world and “gave Hawaiian music a new identity,” according to a statement from his family.
Born Nov. 15, 1916, in Oakland, Calif., de Mello showed early musical talent. He studied music and music theory at the Bickett Military Band School in San Francisco and was only 9 years old when he began playing the trumpet. The family recalled his stories about piling into a Model T Ford with his brother to go to his lessons, which also required travel by ferry boat and train since the Bay Bridge had yet to be built.
As a young musician in San Francisco, de Mello joined the staff band at the CBS radio network and later served as a musical director at ABC and NBC. He entered the Army as a bandmaster at Camp McQuaide in California.
As musical director of Mutual Network top-rated radio show, “Beat The Villian,” de Mello hired the Society Band led by Joe Reichman. They went on to perform together at major U.S. hotels including the Waldorf Astoria and Roosevelt in New York. During a run at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, they accepted an invitation to reopen the Royal Hawaiian hotel in 1947. The hotel had been used exclusively by the U.S. Navy during World War II.
From...HONOLULU STAR ADVERTISER